Nutritional Information for Quinoa
Quinoa is considered a whole grain, but really a type of seed, that has gained in popularity over the years. It has a unique nutty flavor and can be enjoyed many ways. Quinoa is touted because for a grain is has more protein than other whole grains. One cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein! Not too shabby. Beyond protein, quinoa harnesses antioxidant properties and is a healthful whole grain for anyone to add into their diet. It’s also gluten-free and makes a great choice for those with Celiac disease.
Benefits of Quinoa
Cancer Prevention Benefits
The research on quinoa and prostate cancer, along with other types of cancer, is limited in human trials. Some of the reasons why researchers think quinoa could be beneficial for cancer prevention and survival are due to its plant properties. Saponins are a group of compounds found in quinoa and other plants known for their ability to slow cancer growth. Quinoa seems to have several types of these saponins, suggesting they could be used to help prevent and treat inflammation. The saponins can target inflammatory pathways linked to cancer and slow them down or in some cases perhaps even turn them off completely. Quinoa is likely helping reduce cancer risk beyond saponins alone. The abundance of minerals, vitamins, fiber and other types of antioxidants in quinoa likely work synergistically to help reduce cancer risk. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) have convincing evidence foods high in dietary fiber help reduce colorectal cancer risk. They claim that other compounds in whole grains like protease inhibitors, phytic acid and phenolic acids, antioxidants essentially, can alter the way cells use their signaling, express their genes, and reduce inflammatory pathways related to cancer growth.
Men's Health Benefits
Men eating more whole grains in their diet may see a decrease in body fat. Many cancers are associated with excess body fat. Eating foods that can help keep the weight off are also foods that help protect against cancer. Nobody ever said “Gosh I am eating just way too much quinoa, I feel sick.” Quinoa is a great choice and filled with vital minerals and vitamins. It contains compounds like polyphenols (antioxidants) and phytosterols (plant-sterols) that have may help reduce cholesterol. Filling up on quinoa in delicious ways is a simple strategy to help prevent cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and may even help keep body fat from accumulating.
Ways to Use Quinoa
- Swap in any recipe that calls for a grain, such as in soups, stews, or salads.
- Add to tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chilis.
- Use as the base for a grain salad. Add beans, veggies, seasonings, and/ or fruit.
- Make into a morning porridge by adding unsweetened plant-based milk, nuts/ seeds, and fruit.
- Use quinoa flour in baked goods or try using quinoa in a homemade veggie burger.
Resources for Quinoa
American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org
“Foods that Fight Cancer” from AICR: Whole Grains
Nutrition Facts: www.nutritionfacts.org
Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org
USDA Nutrient Database: Quinoa
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